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April 28, 2011 06:28 PM UTC

"John's School" / Anti-Slavery Bill Heard Today

  • 55 Comments
  • by: nancycronk

Update: We won with a 6-5 bipartisan vote. The bill now goes to the House floor.

*************************************************

I am excited to be joining friends —  international anti-trafficking expert Beth Klein and Colorado activist/organizer Debbie Fischer, along with a slate of bipartisan supporters, to testify on behalf of CO SB85. SB85 will stiffen fines for johns that are currently set so low, they are never enforced. The increased revenue from the fines will be put into a fund to create a “john’s school” — teaching customers of prostitutes the unintended consequences of their actions.

John’s schools have worked well in other states. The most famous of them may be the San Francisco First Offenders of Prostitution Program (FOPP). According to a report commissioned by the Department of Justice, the program accomplishes its goal of reducing recidivism of solicitation by educating the public about its consequences –increased human kidnapping and trafficking, physical and sexual abuse of children who are forced into prostitution as teenagers, and creating a class of “throw-away” young people who are more-often-than-not addicted to hard drugs. The average life expectancy of a prostitute is only seven years from the beginning of their “career” due to frequent beatings, substance abuse and sometimes, murder. John’s school teaches about the negative effects for customers as well, including the increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

Opponents of SB 85 have argued that prostitution is a victimless crime. Beth Klein and other experts will attest to the growing problem of human trafficking for sex, and how sexual slavery exists right here in Colorado. The industry of prostitution relies on the kidnapping and abuse of millions of innocent girls, and sometimes boys, who are forced or manipulated into selling their bodies for sex, in exchange for food, drugs, and sometimes, fewer physical beatings. Debbie may share the painful story of her sister’s tragic life for the very first time. My own experience as a former crisis center counselor talking to girls, both on the streets outside of Detroit and in downtown Denver, was that they desperately wanted to get out of the sex trade, but feared for their lives from abusive pimps — many of whom were their boyfriends, husbands, brothers, and sometimes even — their own mothers.

Opponents of the bill have also argued that proponents are all “repressed fanatical right-wing anti-sex church ladies like Rosina Kovar “. Some may be. In my case, and the case of my friends, nothing could be further from the truth. Proponents of SB 85 are from both sides of the political aisle — Debbie and I, for example, were identified as two of three of the state’s best grassroots leaders on the left, when we met with Democratic National Committee Chair Tim Kaine last year.

Beth Klein has traveled all over the world as an expert on anti-trafficking, meeting with celebrities and politicians monthly, garnering support for her anti-slavery efforts. In this month’s “More” magazine, Beth is listed as one of “50 Women You Want On Your Side” with the likes of Michelle Obama, Kirsten Gillabrand, Lady Gaga, Tina Fey, Melinda Gates, Tina Brown, Sheryl Sandberg, Diane Von Fursenberg, Gloria Allred, Queen Rania, Aung San Suu Kyi, Gabby Giffords, Meghan McCain, Oprah Winfrey, Meg Whitman, Angelina Jolie, Elena Kagan, Elizabeth Smart, Ruther Bader, Sonia Sotomayor, and Hillary Clinton (“The Fierce List”, pg 110.) Beth has also been identified as one of the “21 Leaders of the Twenty-First Century”.

“Repressed church ladies with an anti-sex agenda like Rosina Kovar”, we are not. We are mothers and activists who care about the slavery of innocent people, and want a better life for your daughters and sons. We hope you’ll join us.

I invite Pols readers to join us at the House Judiciary Committee Hearing today (Thursday) at 1:30pm in the basement of the CO state Capitol.  

Post-Script: This was my testimony. I represented myself.

My interest is two-fold – as a mother raising three young men, and as a volunteer in my community.

As a mother, I find it difficult to teach my sons to respect women when my state’s laws are too lax regarding the victimization and objectification of human beings for sex. I would like my state to give the purchasers in the sex trade more than a simple slap on the wrist for their role in this crime. I want my sons to see that their government takes the plight of those forced into prostitution seriously, and punishes those who contribute to slavery.

Second, I volunteered for several years at a crisis center where I previously lived just outside of Detroit, and again in my adopted home of Colorado with the group “Stand Up For Kids”. In both of those volunteer roles, I met young prostitutes living on the streets. My anecdotal experience is consistent with the facts presented by the sponsors of the bill – every one of the young people I met became prostitutes as young teenagers. They were either forced into the trade by boyfriends, fathers, stepfathers, uncles, and in one instance, her own mother.

Many of the youths we counseled and attempted to assist were addicted to drugs, and their payment for being sex slaves was a “hit” of their addictive substance, or scraps of food. Most of the young people we met started out in their profession when their home life was not safe, and they could no longer take the beatings or sexual abuse, so they became runaways . Once on the street, they did whatever they needed to do to make it through another day – that usually started with drugs, and led to selling their bodies. The depth of their pain, and the misery of their lives were beyond your wildest nightmares. Imagine if they were your children.

Prostitutes need services to give them other legitimate choices, but as long as there is demand, more innocent children will enter the system of sex slavery. As a mother trying to raise three young men to be good citizens, and as a volunteer in my community, I ask you, no, I plead with you, please make laws tougher on prostitution so that we can save more young people from the dangers of the streets.

Thank you.

Comments

55 thoughts on ““John’s School” / Anti-Slavery Bill Heard Today

  1. I haven’t yet read the whole bill, but I think I am in favor based on your description. Prostitution should not create criminal penalties for sex workers that further trap them in sex work by piling on a criminal record, jail time, and debt. But johns should indeed be penalized and educated. The responsibility for prostitution should not be placed on the shoulders of trafficked women and girls; it belongs where this bill intends to shift it, with the enablers of the industry.

    I’m not sure I would object to some sort of decriminalized prostitution, if carefully regulated to avoid supporting sex trafficking and rape; but that’s not on the table now and even pro sex work feminists should be capable of recognizing that the current criminalized, unregulated sex industry is not safe for women and funnels money toward other aspects of organized crime, including other types of human trafficking.

    Vice crimes are not the same thing as violent crimes, but they’re also not victimless crimes, and industries set up around illegal business tend to be inevitably abusive. It is incredibly brave of you to be willing to share the painful stories you mention in your post, Nancy, and I hope that this passes and becomes a success story that the next state to consider a diversion program uses. Education is a great thing, especially when it can be used as an alternative to solely punitive penalties.

  2. Again, if this was about consensual sex between adults, we’d have no interest in it whatsoever. We are not the prude police. The problem is that most prostitution is not about women entrepreneurs running their own business and making their own decisions (although a few women on Jerry Springer ten years ago tried to convince us all it is).

    Research shows that many prostitutes started off as runaway kids who soon turned to doing tricks to survive. Research also shows they were confronted by a pimp within 48 hours of being on the streets. Pimps use drugs, food, and the threat of violence to keep street kids working. Some work for years; others end up dead in the streets not long after starting their “job”.

    Rep. Daniel Kagan brought up decriminalizing prostitution again and again. It is an interesting idea, for sure, and needs to be studied more. The USA is actually one of the few countries where prostitution is illegal (in most places), and legalizing usually does improve the conditions for the (mostly) girls because the industry becomes regulated. There are two immediate problems with this solution. First, decriminalizing prostitution would never go over in this state. Second, the countries where decriminalizing works are friendly to workers of all kinds. Colorado, as you know,  is hostile to worker’s rights in every industry — prostitution would be no different.

    What we are left with is a multi-billion dollar industry with no protection for the victims — the young girls and boys whose lives are completely ruined by the pimps and the johns. Pimps are virtually impossible to catch and to prosecute — no one will testify against them. By stiffening penalties against johns, we reduce demand. Reducing demand demotivates the pimps from kidnapping and forcing children to become prostitutes — there is little money in it if demand decreases.

    In the end, we need to educate all of society about the real victims of prostitution and look at solutions to fix the problem. By starting with the johns, hopefully, we will make a dent and save a life or two (or ten).  

    1. No one should accept such statements without investigation!!!!

      The justice dept.’s own statistics do not support what you are saying here!

      1. Decriminalization would never go over? That’s a bold assumption….

        The research that was cited in committee to push this bill through was the research done by the Schapiro Group. How did they collect the statistics regarding how many underage people are being trafficked? They looked at photos in online ads on backpage and the GUESSED. Scientific?

        http://www.westword.com/2011-0

        let’s do the same shall we…..go to every online conversation about this topic. You will find MORE people who are stating that prostitution should be decriminalized or legalized than you will find people stating otherwise!!!!! using the Schapiro Group’s method we can wholeheartedly claim that the people, the citizens, want a different approach! You can start by checking out the Denver Post forums on this subject for starters.

        I hope the Senators are making these observations!

        1. No research from the Shapiro group or studies were discussed.  The Denver police talked about exactly what happens as did many former sex workers from all races and backgrounds.  They gave the numbers of arrests, the numbers of kids, and the numbers of arrests of Johns to Prostitutes.  You didn’t need to hear any study when you heard about what is happening in Denver to the people involved and their families.

          No one talked about porn as any kind of “gateway” either.  

          Pimping and pandering are already felonies, and the police testified that arresting johns will help their prosecution of pimps and traffickers.  It will reduce the $360K that pimps make off of each person they pimp.  Arresting johns leads to ISP accounts, cell phone numbers, and all kinds of evidence to go after pimps and prostitution promoters.

          The state fund that is created by the fines from Johns can go to grants for either victim rescue and rehab or law enforcement.  

          Finally, the bill simply equalizes the penalty for johns to a misdemeanor – the same level of crime as for prostitution.  The amendments make the bill have the same fines as other misdemeanors – up to $5K.  One lawyer testified that the fines were like 2nd Degree Felonies – but she got totally shot down when it was pointed out that 2nd Degree Felonies carry up to decades in prison and up to $1M in fines.

          It is still a higher level of crime for a prostitute with aids to spread the disease than the penalty for a john.

            1. I was there on Thursday. It was never mentioned. There is plenty of evidence around — one flawed study was easily discarded from the argument.  

        2. FreedomPreserver — I was once very sympathetic to this argument, as well. As I stated above, I am no prude. I am spiritual, but I do not take issue with premarital sex or responsible sex between consenting adults. If the prostitution industry was not a web of kidnapping and trafficking of teenagers whose lives made them very vulnerable, I would have nothing to say about the issue (I speak for myself and myself only, by the way).

          I do not believe Colorado would ever pass statute to decriminalize prostitution. I have been an activist here for 20 years, and I know the political climate of Colorado extremely well. No, I do not have statistics on that — I have never seen a study. My experience as a grassroots organizer who has knocked on tens of  thousands of doors over two decades for many candidates and campaigns, is the basis of my opinion.

          In researching the human trafficking side of prostitution, I did run across credible information about the effects of decriminalization, which suggests that it only creates two tiers in the industry- an expensive, regulated professional tier (as in some places in Nevada, for example), and a lower tier that is less expensive and where crimes against children continue to be rampant. Please watch for my statistics when I compile them. I will address all of your points very soon.

          I appreciate your willingness to dialogue freedompreserver. It is not my intent to give women fewer options — only to make things safer for all persons who could potentially be victimized.  

          1. This bill has not been passed as of yet into law, and it is really too bad that I was not able to comment before the committee last week because I surely would have! I had the date wrong dagnabit! Nothing can be done about this now.

            I would like to ask you what would be wrong about having a system as that which you described as ‘two tier’. Wouldn’t this separate the people into those who are willing to operate legally and safely from those who will not? Never mind the revenue the state would get that could be applied to creating much needed resources for the victims! Guaranteed! Where a ‘john’ school may very well end up costing the state a LOT as has been shown in numerous states. I was just looking at an annual report from one state’s john school that showed it to be almost $300,000.00 in the red! Who is going to pay that debt? TAX PAYERS not ‘johns’. I will look up that data and cite it here if you like.

            This bill is flawed in so many ways it is mind boggling.

            The current law requires up to six months jail time (and usually not on a first offense) for this MISDEMEANOR and up to only a $500 fine. This bill gives the first time offender the option of a TWO YEAR sentence of probation with the risk of a $5-10,000 fine. Does this make sense?

            I believe it will also drive the victims deeper into the dark and will even put pressure on pimps that will translate to their victims.

            Of course we all know what is coming next don’t we?

            What really gets me, is how this law is attempting to DIAGNOSE people as being sick for the reason of purchasing sex.

            My copy of the current DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders) does not support that people need treatment merely because they purchase sex. This is the manual that mental health care professionals adhere to. What are we basing this on- that people are in need of treatment merely because they seek to purchase sex? Show me the research that supports this assertion.  

            1. I will try to address your points one at a time.

              1. I do not know enough about decriminalization laws and their effects. I know anecdotally that Las Vegas, Nevada is crawling with underage girls picking up johns on the strip. All you have to do is sit there for ten minutes waiting for your car to watch them do it. The girls are very young. It makes me sick. If that is what decriminalization does — desensitizes the populace to it so much they seem oblivious to young kids selling their bodies — then no, I am not in favor of it at all.

              2. More so, as I stated above. This is a Barney-purple state — very conservative socially. Decriminalization will never happen on a statewide ballot. Mark my words.

              3. In regard to this bill, the john has the choice of going to a one-day class or paying the fine or probation. It is his/her choice. John school is like traffic school. When people are taught how their choices affect other people in unintended ways, it changes behavior. In committee, there was evidence presented that it results in overall recidivism being decrease significantly. If nothing else, the johns may become “fussier”, not willing to be caught with underage girls or girls brought to CO against their will. It is my opinion this education can only help our human trafficking situation in CO.

              4. You said “it will also drive the victims deeper into the dark and will even put pressure on pimps that will translate to victims”. You are admitting there are victims. Glad to hear it. Personally, I do not see how they could be driven into the dark even more than they are now. When volunteers at Stand Up for Kids go looking for them, they are frightened to talk to anyone already. They are already completely in the dark.

              5. I have no idea what is coming next and I don’t understand what you are suggesting.

              6. I don’t recall anyone diagnosing anyone else involved with this business. It is a fact many people who sell their bodies as prostitutes are addicted to drugs. Evidence presented at the committee indicated that, and the former prostitutes who came to testify confirmed it with their own experience. In regard to the mental state of the johns, Beth Klein was compassionate to some of them in her remarks, suggesting they may be dissuade from their choices when they learn they are inadvertently hurting people as consumers in an industry inundated with trafficking. In other words, although we all know people see prostitutes for a variety of reasons ranging from loneliness and poor social skills to power and control, Beth gave them the benefit of the doubt. She did not have to do that.

              7. You are obviously very intelligent, freedomepreserver. I do not know if you are the same person whose emails I have seen, or persuasive videos on the topic I have watched, but I think you may be. I am curious — why would such a smart person such as you be in this business (either as a prostitute or as an organizer/advocate of them). I am curious, an sincerely hoping you will use your intellect to help these trafficked children, rather than to make it harder for the State of CO to find them and save them. I mean that sincerely, and with all due respect.  

      2. I am looking for the statistics I have heard and seen earlier to back up my statements. I know they exist, and I will gladly list them when I find them again. Your request is very reasonable, and I am confident of the facts.  

        1. When I try to address each of your points, FreedomPreserver, they line up way down the thread. Please bare with me — I will continue to address philosophical differences of opinion where I can, while finding the statistics I know that back up what I am saying.

    2. Obviously sex slavery is despicable.  Victims need rescued, perpetrators need punished harshly, and customers need educated about the consequences of their actions.  

      But I think there is a lot of hysteria around this issue, and poor statistics being used by some proponents.  I thought that the article in Westword was well-researched, but I would like to hear the response before settling on an opinion.

      Some number of people DO choose to go into the sex trade, adults serving adults. It may be that underlying issues–domestic abuse, bad self-esteem, drug addiction, poor job choices–push many workers into this trade, but, in that case, it is really the underlying social ills that need addressed.  Otherwise it will not go away.    

      All that said, I have not read the bill–I think that if prostitution is going to be a crime (which I am not sure it should be), then certainly the customers need to be treated as offenders as well, and not just the workers.  

      Educating men, and those in particular who visit sex workers, about the dangers and consequences of their actions is good.  I just think a rationale (rather than emotive) debate on the matter would be best–but emotions pass legislation, reason and rationale is often less effective.  

      1. >>Some number of people DO choose to go into the sex trade, adults serving adults. It may be that underlying issues–domestic abuse, bad self-esteem, drug addiction, poor job choices–push many workers into this trade, but, in that case, it is really the underlying social ills that need addressed.<<

        I appreciated your input.

        Not all people who enter into sex work fit this description.

        I know a woman who started her career as an escort almost 30 years ago. She recently retired, her house is paid for, her car is new and paid for, she is one of the most lovely people I have ever known. If you met her you would never in a million years assume she was a retired sex worker. She is also happily married and has been for many years now (and was married long before she retired). Her story is not as uncommon as many seem to assume.

        I also know of a woman who entered the industry (escorting) because she was very depressed as well as suffering from addiction and was attempting to push herself ‘over the edge’ thinking this would do it, and instead she ended up getting clean, enjoying her work and the freedom it gave her. She is now a very happy person, loves her vocation and again, you would never guess what she does for a living if you met her. I think this is pretty amazing considering she was trying to end her life and according to her this ended up saving it!

        I am aware of literally thousands of professionals who are anything but the stereotypical ‘prostitute’ that is always described by proponents of these laws. And YES, these women and men need to stand up and be counted despite the risks.

        Doesn’t it make sense that people such as trafficking agencies, crisis counselors and law enforcement would not be coming into contact with people such as this, because they are not operating within the zone where you find the negative elements? Especially those people who are not using drugs, and who have a stable platform they are working from. These people DO exist. Many state that the worst aspect of being in the sex industry are the stigmas generated by society.

        When you have people who have simply chosen to believe that everything pertaining to the sex industry is SICK and exploitative, they are looking through a very limited lens that labels everything as being sick.

        I agree that people are trafficked by poverty and I believe that this is going to get much worse sadly. I also believe that law enforcement is going to be dealing with much more trafficking as related to other forms of labor (other than sex) because of the economy i.e. the demand for cheaper goods and manufacturing.

        Attacking the sex industry with a broad stroke is not going to address this and is disenfranchising millions of people.

        I would love to see even more focus and  crackdown on gangs (which I believe to be at the hub of the problem, NOT ‘johns’).

        We do need resources to help those people who want OUT, and there are people who want out. Where are the resources to help make this happen?

        The laboratory to combat human trafficking here in Denver has helped over 40 people to go to school and get out of the sex industry, however once they get an education some find that they cannot get work, and that they had more freedom and were making more money in the sex industry. It is hard to be ok with a minimum wage job knowing the kind of money that can be made from sex work. When society refuses to acknowledge these people by employing/supporting them despite their past as a sex worker, this is a WALL that many find hard to hurdle.  

        1. That

          all people who enter into sex work fit this description.

          Nor was I

          Attacking the sex industry with a broad stroke

          I said that

          It may be that underlying issues–domestic abuse, bad self-esteem, drug addiction, poor job choices–push many workers into this trade

          So I am not sure why you were replying to me.  

          I think we need to target resources at addressing those underlying issues that make some people easily exploitable.  

          As for human trafficking and underage prostitution–throw the book at the perpetrators (pimps, facilitators and johns) and get the victims out of there.  

          I do think that if (adult, consensual) prostitution is a crime–and, again, I am not sure it should be–then the customers deserve equitable punishment as the worker.  

      2. Keep in mind Westword, and its parent company, BackPage, makes many, many thousands (millions?) of dollars on ads from “escorts”, “massage parlors” and “personal assistants”. They are big business in the prostitution industry, and as much as I love their progressive articles on all kinds of issues, they will defend the money they make just like BP defends oil drilling. They are no different — money is a great motivator for them.

        Who knows? Freedompreserver may not even be a woman, or a prostitute, or an activist. He/she may be their advertising manager or attorney… who knows who writes anonymously?  

        1. But the methodology described in the article is clearly highly problematic.

          I choose to take people at their word about who they are or represent, unless they provide me reason not to.  Discrediting the messenger via speculation (rather than fact) is kind of a weak form of argumentation.  

          1. I’m just thinking critically. I never take political and consumer opinions at face value. I always ask, “Who is speaking on whose behalf, and is there money invested in convincing me (or others)? I think that is a smart way to read/hear/watch the papers/blogs/television, don’t you? Also, there is no proof as to who is speaking when people post anonymously. I will give her the benefit of the doubt.

            As for the study, it is not quoted by the proponents of this bill because of the problem pointed out.  

            1. I agree completely more money should go into job traning and support for young women — absolutely! As a progressive activist, that’s all I do — trying to persuade legislators to vote for more social services for our society’s most vulnerable people. I completely agree with you that all of the problems we are discussing here will get much, much worse, rather than better, as a result of the shrinking middle class and increasing numbers of people in poverty. Poverty is ugly — it hurts everyone.

              I can’t say I blame people for doing what they need to do to eat and/or feed their families! Desperate times call for desperate measures. I think less of the CEOs of major corporations making hundreds of millions of dollars than I do people who sell drugs or sell sex or gamble to feed their children who would otherwise starve. Once a person’s basic needs are paid for, I don’t understand how they can continue to take from others knowing other people are starving. Just because something is legal it doesn’t mean it’s morally right, and vice versa. (Okay, I’ll jump down off my soapbox now.)

            2. I think I am stretched out somewhere between you an FP on this one.  I tend to support decriminalization for consenting adults; but ensuring that last part (consenting, and adult) is the trick in an industry that–I think–is rife for exploitation.  

              Still, I think that for people who honestly and legitimately choose this line of work, it should be legal because I think that lessens a number of the risks and makes it safer for everyone.  Its not going away–it just isn’t.  

              So helping to make sure that people have other options (to NOT get into that industry against their will or wishes) and good paths to get out (if they want) is crucial.  And protecting the workers who stay in the industry–and the clients–seems key to me. Seems like criminalization makes that more difficult.

              I distinguish between individuals on a blog–and say someone in a paper or on the TeeVee–in applying my skeptical eye.  Assuming that anyone who has a position on a contentious topic is really a shill, troll, or industry tool seems disrespectful (and ineffective) to me.  Sure, I am aware that anyone posting anonymously could be someone else other than who they claim, I just don’t assume they are unless I have more than ‘they might be’ to go on.  Seems fair to me.  

               

              1. N/T

                Educating the public about the plight of these trafficked kids will raise discussions like the one on this thread. Until people are interested in the subject, and aware of the problem, we cannot have the discussion about how to clean up this industry. John’s school is one way. Decriminalizing it and regulating it is another. I think the first is likely to be approved by voters and/or legislators, and the second, probably not.

                In a perfect world, I think it should be decriminalized and heavily regulated — not like it is in Nevada where corruption is rampant, but in parts of Europe, where they actually take worker’s rights seriously, in all industries. Sadly, I don’t have a whole lot of hope for that to happen in the United States. We are going backward in the area of worker’s rights all across the board.

                Please know all of my opinions are my own and do not reflect Swanee Hunt, Beth Klein, Demand Abolition, Stand Up for Kids or any other advocate working on the john’s bill. I am an independent advocate.  

    3. I should have made myself more clear in committee, Nancy.  I was exploring the issue of legalizing ONLY prostitution, not patronizing a prostitute, nor, heaven forbid, pimping.  I just believe that when a prostitute is being pimped, she is the victim and the pimp is the more serious criminal, while the john is also facilitating the crime.  But the prostitute is an innocent party in all this and so her actions, which are very often far from voluntary, should be excused in the law.  To prosecute a woman who has been enslaved, typically from the age of fourteen, and forced, effectively, to perform sex acts with strangers is worthy of protection, not punishment. Let’s not blame the victim. That’s why I wondered aloud whether Representative McCann, while drawing up her bill, had considered decriminalizing prostitution alone, leaving the other players criminally liable, especially the pimps.

      1. I am sorry if I have misquoted you, or mischaracterized what you said in committee. I heard your questions about decriminalization as exploring every way possible to put an end to human trafficking in prostitution. It was abundantly clear to all who were there (and especially when you voted for the bill) your concern was for the innocent girls and boys forced into the profession by their pimps.

        In the end, this issue has been looked at from many angles in an effort to end sexual slavery. Everyone wants to get the pimps where they hurt — in their pockets. The only way to do that is to educate the johns, in order to reduce demand. Meanwhile, we also need to continue to fight for social services funding to combat the reasons girls and boys end up on the streets in the first place — drug addiction, family problems, child abuse, etc.

        Daniel — thank you for your vote, and for caring about Colorado’s young people!

  3. First, it is important not to assume what people feel and think. I am an advocate for sex workers, I oppose this bill, but I am not willing to label people as prudes. In fact, that kind of thinking process is no different than an abolitionist deciding that there is no such thing as a healthy consensual sex worker! I happen to believe that a much needed paradigm shift is in order for all people on every side of this issue!

    This particular legislation does not address the issue of trafficking.

    This legislation is the result of a strategy developed by hunts alternative fund.

    Since the justice dept. would not federalize anti-prostitution laws stating that it is a state’s rights issue, this plan was developed as a strategy; a strategy that has been outlined in detail at hunts alternative’s website and several hunts publications. SEE BELOW

    http://www.huntalternatives.org/

    http://www.huntalternatives.or

    http://www.huntalternatives.or…   (this is a very important read)

    How is it, that the Diagnostic and statistical manual of disorders (the DSM-IV-TR) which IS the guideline used by mental health professionals, does NOT support that people who purchase sex are mentally ill? Yet this law basically diagnoses anyone caught buying sex as needing mental rehabilitation?

    Instead of calling you prudes….let me assert the following based on what I have seen and heard from the abolitionist camps:

    It seems to me that many of you believe that even ONE kid being abused overrides the MILLIONS of women and men who engage in consensual sex work by CHOICE.

    How can you justify this? How do you justify that anyone selling sex is sick, and anyone buying sex is sick…?

    Such a broad stroke?

    While there are exploited children who need help (why the focus is always on girls and not children in general is beyond me), there is a great portion of the sex worker population who are not being trafficked.

    I do know that hunt alternative fund has stated they will NOT acknowledge this.

    Neither hunts neither can you imagine their lives. You ASSUME. Just like whoever made the comment that you guys were all prudes.

    Any law that seeks to guide human behaviors should be absolutely questioned and analyzed to the very core. In no way should laws ever be passed through sensationalistic rhetoric fueled by personal agendas!! No matter how noble!

    Opportunistic politics is what is at play here.

    I see where it is hard for some of you to step out of your normal construct. You see the damage you want to stop and your construct is based out of this, not unlike a police officer who sees only the negative side of society as a norm, by virtue of being a police officer. However, does what the police officer see represent the WHOLE/MAJORITY of society?

    There is also the lack of REAL data supporting the claims of MILLIONS of kids being trafficked (unless you are counting both sex labor AND other forms of labor and this bill in no way addresses trafficking!) and time and time again people working on your side of the issue have been caught using exaggerated flawed numbers as statistics.

    The constitutionality of this law will be challenged because it is NOT constitutional!

    Of course Hunts and its allies seem to have money to waste.

    What bothers me most is that this law institutionalizes sexual stigmas and marginalizes people and will in no way actually address issues involving children.

    Let’s have rational legislation! Let this specifically refer to the trafficking of CHILDREN rather than across the board!

    If this bill was truly about saving children why isn’t the language of the bill reflecting this?

    Why aren’t you targeting PIMPS?????????

    Because everyone who really understands the ADULT INDUSTRY to any degree knows that there ARE millions of consensual sex workers. Sex workers who are supporting themselves and their families.

    The purpose of this national movement, spearheaded by PROHIBITIONISTS calling themselves abolitionists, primarily feminist and religiously based, is to abolish all forms of adult entertainment, which they assert leads to the exploitation of women and children. As if reading Playboy is a gateway drug to abusing children. It IS that WRONG.

    I stand with you against the trafficking of anyone no matter the age. However we need to approach this in a RATIONAL manner.

    Oh– and as far as Beth Klein being on a list with lady gaga, nothing I would be proud of!! Lady gaga is fiercely offensive to me. She does not promote people to USE THEIR BRAINS. Quite the opposite.

    Speaking of this, why not attack the sexualizing of children! We see DISNEY guilty of this, but no one is saying much about that!

      1. I am a woman. No bingo prize for you at this time!

        No. I am not a troll. I am a human being who has something to say just as you do. We may not agree, but we can respect one another and who knows, I find that most reasonable people have a lot more in common than they realize (once they let the shields down).

        I will assume that we have radically different views on numerous subjects.

        But can we agree that we want to protect children? Can we also agree that this is not an easy quick remedy situation and that it deserves a much greater investment of time and energy in order to manifest a truly effective strategy that does not alienate and disenfranchise a great number of human beings while attempting to protect human beings?

        Does logic and reason speak to you?

        1. I find that people who have to loudly and vehemently apply the descriptors “logic” and “reason” to their own arguments are rarely using much of either. And I don’t appreciate your attacking Nancy when she has so much personal experience on this issue. A little respect is called for, not nastiness and then when someone calls you on it it’s “for the children!!!”

          1. I am simply calling for a RATIONAL review of FACTS.

            Hysteria is pushing this bill through committee. Hysteria says that porn is a gateway to child sex trafficking. Hysteria allows people to disenfranchise MILLIONS of consensual sex workers whose voices are being IGNORED by people like Nancy. In fact, let me quote a hunts alternatives representative:

            “We decided we WOULDN’T make a distinction between women who are coerced and [women] who choose. “If you try to make that distinction, you will get nowhere when focusing on demand.”

            Julie Bindel, British journalist, researcher, and feminist campaigner

            So this agenda takes precedence over millions of human beings who are NOT being trafficked? obviously. Millions of men and women many who themselves have families to feed and support. These people do not fit the stereotype and are too afraid to step up and speak out most of the time for fear of arrest or persecution.

            **Sexual stigmas (call it hysteria if you like) are directing the way our culture reacts and responds to and addresses issues pertaining to sexuality.**

            How easy it is to USE “it’s FOR THE CHILDREN”, because who in their right mind doesn’t want children to be safe and sound?

            I am right there with you on that (of course the way this agenda works is it uses this idea of ‘it’s for the children’ as the crux, never mind facts, never mind trying to look through a more holistic lens that considers the broader picture).

            However, to IGNORE the greater portion of sex workers who DO happen to be consenting adults? This is not acceptable.

            This legislation WILL be challenged in court if passed into law and had they created legislation that actually addressed TRAFFICKING as well as UNDERAGE prostitution this would be a different matter entirely. oh…but they have laws on the book right now that address underage prostitution. huh.

            Nancy asserts that if this issue were about consenting adults they would not care. Well it IS about consenting adults but Nancy doesn’t want to see that.

            It’s all for the children? Why aren’t children mentioned in this bill???

            Please read through the information at the links provided. You seem like an intelligent person and I appreciated what you had to say in your previous post.

            I believe you may be reading into my post as far as inflection goes. Yes, I am passionate about the rights and safety of ALL people therefore I do NOT accept that consensual sex workers, as well as EVERY buyer, should end up being collateral damage.

            As long as it saves one? Two? Ten?

            After thorough research into the agendas outlined in the hunts alternative site and publications and related articles, what this amounts to is a PROHIBITION movement with a very misguided approach based in moralizing.

            Anyone who opposes the bill risks being politically attacked which is why it is such an unfair tactic. we can use guesswork, we can exaggerate statistics, and because we have seen the pain of people who have been trafficked we can justify this?

            I am supposed to drop my views and not want a rational approach because ‘it’s all for the children?’ PLEASE.

            I have worked with abused children, I have seen first hand what happens on the streets, I am no less effected and motivated to protect children.

            1. With all the talk of helping get girls (hopefully boys too) out of the sex trade, what provisions does this bill provide for this??? What resources are going to be created for the victims?

              NOTHING.

              But it will make sure a few people have employment, such as the people hunts surely has lined up already to facilitate the john school.

              1. I stated in my testimony on Thursday that I believe services need to be increased to offer the most vulnerable members of our society more job training skills and education so they have other real options. Those who become prostitutes out of economic desperation may be less likely if they had other real choices.

                The problem is, if we do not decrease demand, the problem of human trafficking within the sex industry will never go away. All of the social prevention programs in the world will not prevent new victims to fill the place of those who were able to leave. It is only through reducing demand we can hit the pimps where it hurts.

                For someone who keeps asking for statistics and reason, I find it interesting most of your comments are personal attacks on the Hunt family. Do you really think attacking the Hunts will influence people who look for reason? I do not know Swanee Hunt personally (although I greatly admire her humanitarian efforts all over the globe). I speak for myself, and myself only. I did enough counseling on the streets to know how serious this problem is — the fact that Swanee Hunt feels as I do is merely a coincidence.  

                1. I have read through the 377 plus page document found here:

                  http://web.multco.us/sites/def

                  As well as all of the hunts alternative fund documents I could find on the Internet which I have cited.

                  Have you had a chance to go through any of it?

                  The people/agencies that are collaborating and who are supporting and pushing forward this agenda are operating under the hunts name from what I can tell (which of course denotes the hunts blessing). They clearly outline their ten year strategy. They believe they are going to change this culture at its very core as quoted.

                  I must ask who made them the authority over MY life and the lives of millions of consensual sex workers who are not being coerced, forced or defrauded? As well as every buyer of sexual services?

                  Can we not spend some of that money (that I recently heard someone from hunts with my own ears bragging about having to spend) on research that will uncover a reasonable solution that will not harm as many (if NOT MORE) than the number it hopes to save????

                  I am questioning whether or not they care in the least about the lives of those who fall outside of the trafficking definition. They will not acknowledge these people exist so why would they care?

                  How about investing some of that hunts money into establishing resources for sex workers for a change instead of wasting it on endeavors like ‘ending the demand for sex’? Like this will ever happen!

                  What a seriously flawed idea it is to think you can end the demand for sex! Paid for sex or not.

                  Prohibition supports the pimps! Prohibition paves the way for the black market. Have we not learned this?



                  I feel sorry for the children who will pay an even higher price as the pimps start ‘feeling the hurt’ that this ‘plan’ hopes to inflict.

                  Do these people actually understand the world they are trying to change?? I am doubting this.

                  1. You asked why we keep bringing up trafficked children when they are not the subject of this bill. There is undisputable, quality evidence that says a large percentage of prostitutes start as minors, who by definition, do not make the choice on their own. Many are runaways, “throwaways” (kicked out from home), or drug users. Some are kidnapped, intimidated, manipulated, or forced. That we know. We also know the average teenager who becomes a prostitute will only live another seven years after starting in that profession.

                    In other words, this is about kids. Kids under 18 who are not allowed to grow up normally. Yes, they may get older, but developmentally, they continue to be the same wounded child for a long, long time (or until his/her death). That is my experience as a former crisis center counselor who met many of these young people. If they make it out (most don’t), the scars do not go away…. ever.

                    And yes, I will acknowledge there is a percentage who are smart, independent women making their own choices and for whom the occupation seems to work out for them. No one really knows the numbers. You think there are more of them than the abused childhood prostitutes, and I think there are more who have been trafficked/abused/tricked/thrown-away, etc. The point is, the adult women with awareness have an opportunity to choose, the kids do not. I’m willing to save kids and piss off entrepreneurial women in the process.

                    Hopefully, if you really are a woman and an advocate, we both agree that pimps should take a hit, just like women and children have been for a long, long time. It’s completely unfair they are the ones who are never punished. And how does this bill punish pimps? In the wallet.  

                    1. I AM indeed a woman! VERY much so!! Haha. I am also involved in the ‘industry’.

                      Taken from the Denver Post forums…an awesome post by another person in the industry who has done their homework!:

                      In 2010 the FBI spend a 800,000 grant in just 3 days supposedly to do a 3 day nationwide child prostitution sting.

                      After arresting 884 people, we had 69 TEEN RUNAWAYS, along with their 99 pimps boyfriends and also caught up in the mix were over 700 adults looking to meet with another consenting adult in private. During this sting, more middle aged people were arrested than THE TEENS THEY WANTED TO RESCUE.

                      Now we have Bill hr 5575 gong to congress which is to ask for hundreds of millions for services for these TEEN victims and the bill clearly states that any women over the age of 20 would NOT be eligible for services, and most of the money would be spend training FBI and vice to STALK MIDDLE AGED ESCORTS ONLINE.

                      Now every city already has a whole juvenile court, a dept of child services, foster homes, boot camps and reform schools, but the women OVER 20 years of age have NO SERVICES.

                      These people are trying to convince us that these RUNAWAY TEENS ARE VICTIMS and they are really UNGOVERNABLE TEENS that ran off with their boyfriends that exploited them. Are we not suppose to hold these teens accountable for their own behavior, why return them them with no real intervention to just run off again, and why is the parents not being held accountable for the COST OF RESCUING THEIR UNGOVERNABLE TEEN. Why not lock these teens up to protect them from themselves?

                      Original prostitution laws were created “to stop a women from showing her wares in public” The media likes to portray all prostitutes as curb crawling drug addicts and yet most are really middle aged single parents desperately trying to escape POVERTY.

                      Last year we spend 250 million to arrest 80,000 people for prostitution, that 250 million could have housed 80,000 women and children long term.

                      Yet anyone wanting to legalize prostitution wants the women to help pay off the deficit, nobody is even considering creating long term services for women who do want to exit the industry. Or they want these women to be forced to work in brothels where they would have to give half their earnings to the brothel owner, pay rent and then pay taxes and not be able to refuse any clients.

                      We are no dumb women, we know how to screen clients, advertise and choice our rates for our time. We not not need to be regulated anymore than any other business does, so why would we place regulations on this industry that is not placed on any other business. Why do we make it our business?

                      In Rhode Island, in 1976 a federal laws suit was filed in RI by a women named Mona St.James who later formed the organization COYOTE . The complaint was what right did they state have in the sexual conduct of consenting adults, and also they were only arresting the women and not the men. The case was dismissed by a compromise and indoor prostitution became legal in RI in 1979.

                      For 30 years there was never one case of human trafficking, women could work for massage spas or from their homes. There was never one public nuisance complaint in over 30 years (too bad we can’t say that about nightclubs). The police never bothered to go into any spa, and check for ID to make sure the girls were of legal age and in the country legally. Yet they did run front page news articles about how sad it was that one could buy sex a block from city hall. These businesses were licensed and paid taxes and they even donated money to the state police and other local charities and the women spend their money in the other local businesses.

                      In 2009 the Craigslist killer, killed a girl in Boston and then went to RI and robbed a escort and he was CAUGHT because the escort dialed 911 as she had PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW.

                      Then in Nov 2009 they criminalize indoor prostitution (putting all the women in the state in harms way) as they claimed they could not investigate human trafficking without criminalizing us.

                      Ironically the police go in to strip clubs all the time and do ID checks and ask the girls if they are OK but for some reason they insisted this would not work in RI.

                      Now we have 10 women who have murdered in Long Island and even though they knew at least 5 of these girls were online escorts, the cops told the media that serial killers rarely murder hookers, one man on Long Island reported the women coming to door asking for help and when he told her he was calling the cops to help her, she ran off and has never been seen again. The man reported this in May 2010 and it took till Aug 2010 for them to follow up, and even a CNN reported wants to know if a prompt investigation was not done because after all these girls were JUST HOOKERS.

                      Theproviderpage.com/cms is a place dedicated to THE SAFETY & PROTECTION of escorts, we are trying to find services for women WHO do want to exit the industry and we are also trying to create new laws to protect sex workers and stop the discrimination against them.

                      Some cites want to create JOHN school so the men can walk away within criminal record. Even if a women has a 20 year old prostitution conviction, she can never get a job, or even rent an apartment.

                      Law enforcement is in the news weekly, for exploiting these TEENS themselves, or for abusing hookers and some of these women are even raped and beaten while in custody just because they are prostitutes.

                      To go a step further we ENCOURAGE society to hate these women with the “they get what they deserve attitude”. The cops brag to the media that they will continue to run these women from there communities. Do we really think these women would be better off or an safer living in the streets?

                      Since they criminalize all the women in RI, the homeless rate for women in RI has increased 20% so far this year and the shelters are FULL.

                      Now lets look at MORALS. It is legal and even sociably acceptable for a women to pick up a strange man in a nightclub, bring him he and have unprotected sex with him, while her small children are in the home. Men are now reporting that most women give it up by the 3rd date.

                      Then we have the REAL HATERS that say they do NOT want it in their neighborhoods, while I agree with no allowing BROTHELS or Spa’s In a residential neighborhood, but what about the independent escort. If you can have sex with whoever in your home, why can’t I, and we seem to only have issues with sex WHEN ITS NOT FREE.

                      A Canadian judge ruled last year “that no public nuisance equals allowing women to be murdered” of course its ow in appeals court and they are trying to stop the sex workers from being able to testify in court.

                      Then lets look at how the cops investigate these women, they use SWAT TEAMS to kick in the doors or these women homes, and then issue them a summons to appear, and some of these women are held on bonds as high as 20,000 even though they have not been charged with a felony.

                      Sex workers are always court ordered for STD testing but the MEN/CLIENTS are not, even though they are the ones with the riskiest behaviors and even though our own heath dept studies show that “hookers have less std’s than the general public does and this is also true in Canada and these facts were presented to RI politicians by a Canadian Dr.

                      NY has created a law that ANYONE CAN BE ARRESTED FOR CARRYING CONDOMS!!!! (this law is being passed all over the world), that is not the way to promote safe sex, I think law enforcement WHO is swore to PROTECT & SERVE should be out handing out condoms to the street girls to help protect them and the public.

                      Now lets look a the Human Trafficking advocates that have been collecting donations for the fight against human trafficking for years, the provide no services to the victims; instead the spend the money touring the country, like a politican, lying to the media about how many teens are being exploited. These groups are anti prostitution groups in disguise and are the one PUTTING OUR YOUTH and WOMEN AT RISK by REFUSING US the same SANCTION and PROTECTION under the law given to all other citizens. Now if this is really about human trafficking, then why when they find a middle aged escort do they arrest her?

                      THE SOLUTION:

                      If we decriminalize and make these women pay for a year license which would go to the heath dept so these women would have access to Health care, the women could pay taxes into state, federal and social security and even unemployment, but part of their taxes would go directly for services for women WHO want to exit the adult industry.

                      I always want to ask one of these DO GOODERS that if they were cold enough and hungry enough don’t they think they would turn a trick for a blanket and burger, so why be so JUDGMENTAL about SEX.

                      >>Tell it like it is babe!

                      WE ARE THE EXPERTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                      And Nancy is questioning or perhaps even attempting to discredit me by wondering if I am a man after I have stated clearly that I am NOT.

                      I doubt you did your homework on this subject, certainly not in a holistic manner that attempts to understand the entire industry beyond what certain people have to say, which is a shame in itself. Especially with claiming that you have a reasonable attitude about SEX. Obviously not if it involves commercial sexuality of any kind.

                    2. Statistics were given for Colorado…I believe it was that 6 underage people were netted over a three year period. It may have been 1 year but I believe it was 3.

                      That is 6 too many. However where is the EPIDEMIC???????

                    3. If you are who you say you are, I take you at your word. I know there is a lot of money to be made in advertising for escorts and pimping, and please consider, “How can I know for sure?” I did not mean to attack your integrity — I just need some assurance you are who you say you are when I weigh what you say. Please understand. I once blogged anonymously, too. It was very freeing to give that up. I understand why you cannot.

                    4. I apologize for asking if you were a pimp or an advertizer. It is clear by your passion on this issue, you are a woman.

                      In regard to the RI news, you said,

                      For 30 years there was never one case of human trafficking, women could work for massage spas or from their homes. …The police never bothered to go into any spa, and check for ID to make sure the girls were of legal age and in the country legally.

                      Do you have a link from a study that gives evidence for these claims?

                      On another topic, I would like to clarify one thing. I already stated I personally do not have any interest in interfering between any kind of sex between consenting adults, and that is absolutely true. I did not say though, that I am sad, as a mother, that smart women (or any woman) sells her body for sex. As a Mom, I’ve tried very hard to raise my boys to appreciate a woman’s brain and heart — not just her body. I’ve tried to teach them to have relationships based on caring, and when that relationship leads to sex, to be responsible. I would be lying to say I have no moral judgment against men who go right to the sex — paid or unpaid.

                      That said, I still think every woman has the right to her own body, and to make decisions about it. On that, I think we can agree. The difference is, I will never press for legislation that punishes a woman for choosing what she wishes to do with her own body. It is her choice. Do I feel the same way about men’s rights to their own body? Absolutely.

                      The reason I support the john’s school bill has nothing to do with prostitution between consenting adults being illegal. The reason I support the john’s bill is that people need to be educated about human trafficking — that many of these kids — boys and girls alike, whether unmanageable, runaway teens or kidnapped girl scouts, are vulnerable. Whether there are five or five million on the streets is of no consequence to me. I want to save all of them from being drugged, beaten, abused and killed. No human being, even the most rebellious teenager (and many of the ones we talked to came from homes with horrible, abusive parents) deserve to be treated as sexual objects rather than human beings.

                      If I though decriminalizing prostitution and regulating it would solve the problem, I’d be all for it.

                      I don’t know how political you are outside this issue, but the last 30 years have seen a decline in regulations of all kinds — our air, water, and earth has been polluted and big corporations have gone unpunished. Worker’s rights in every industry have been eroded. Unions have been busted, and a mere 8% of all employees are in unions today. In other words, the government has stripped away most protections we have for abusing people already. The GOP has given the green light all over the country for more — Scott Walker was just the beginning.

                      I’m saying decriminalizing won’t work because we’ve gone backward in regard to reguting worker’s safety across the board. What that leaves is education. People who are concerned about human trafficking are trying to educate people in every way, and any way, we can. The john’s school bill is one of those ways.

                      I HOPE every john arrested under the bill chooses to go to john school to learn about the dangers of human trafficking, if only to become more responsible consumers in the future (if they intend to continue). It is my hope some of them have a conscience and will ask themselves about the girl or boy they are meeting. How old are they? Who is setting this up? Am I naive to think some of them, with a little education, would be more cautious and caring? I don’t know — maybe I am.

                      Can you think of any other ways we can accomplish our goal — to save kids from being sucked into or forced into a very dangerous industry? Like you, I do not want to further punish the victims. If you can think of another way (besides john’s schools and besides decriminalization), and in a way that is budget-neutral (our government is broke), I’m all ears.

                    5. I appreciate your input and will get back later with a more in depth reply. I have got to get down to the capitol this afternoon.

                      However per your environmental comments, I did want to say how upset I am that recycling is not mandatory! talk about an environmental issue! Look at all the plastic and paper packaging that is generated every day from every store, grocery store, fast food, starbucks, home….all going to a land fill somewhere.

                      Every time as I walk down the ‘holiday’ isle at any store, I see shameless consumer ‘programming’ and I think of all those crappy little plastic objects (as well as the packaging that they come in) and how it will all end up TRASH almost immediately.

                      We generate an amazing amount of garbage everyday….thoughtlessly.

                      I heard the japan had a perfect system where they had virtually no garbage going to landfills! (Bless those people!!!!)

                      It should be a crime not to recycle!!

                      Now there IS a law I would support! SMILE

                      If you would ever want to advocate for mandatory recycling I would be a zealous partner in that endeavor!

                    6. I’m excited — where I live, we just got huge recycling bins and trash bins from Waste Management. With only a week’s practice, my family has almost filled the recycling bin. I’m proud of my guys.  🙂

                    7. Is a local agency that specifically deals with underage people who are homeless, who may be involved in sex work, and they NEED FUNDING!!!! Why hasn’t the Embry (sp?) foundation or hunts sought these agencies out to give them money? They need it! And they are working directly with these young people, people just as you have described. The more funding they get, the better they will be able to help them! I am sure PRAXUS would love to be able to house these young people, help these kids with resources, education, support and agency and on a more profound level!

                    8. although Beth and Debbie and I are friends (we have campaigned together for candidates), and we all support the concept of john’s schools, I cannot speak for them. I do not know Swanee Hunt, either, although I do respect much of her work in feminist and philanthropic areas. I am confident she is a caring person. I can tell you absolutely Debbie and Beth are motivated only by compassion.

                      I don’t know much about the Embry Foundation or the Hunt charities. If any of them are reading our very public conversation, maybe they will check out Praxus. I did a google search for them, by the way, and only got a MySpace page that is 3 years old. I would be curious to read more about them.

                      Are you familiar with Stand Up for Kids? http://www.standupforkids.org/

  4. I am happy to have that with you. I admire your attempt to organize a union of any kind. I am a former union organizer myself, and admire the effort, although we don’t agree on this issue. I too believe in worker’s rights.

    In regard to your assertion that I am ignoring the civil rights issue of adult sex workers who entered the profession after serious consideration, choosing between a variety of options, and under no pressure from others, I will grant you some of those people may exist. Clearly, you know some (including yourself?).

    At the hearing on Thursday, a parade of former sex workers testified about the abusive underworld of the sex trade industry. All of the former prostitutes (each of whom willingly and without compensation of any kind volunteered, by the way) and one family member of a deceased prostitute, testified FOR the bill, providing additional anecdotes to illustrate our case. NOT ONE former prostitute stepped up to argue against it. If there are so many intelligent, drug-clean, adult women with political savvy in the profession, or who have retired from it, why is it not one of them appeared to testify against the bill? Surely, a retired prostitute who took pride in her work should have no reason, legal or otherwise, to stay home.  

    1. Robin Few, who is the founder of the sex workers outreach project, a CURRENT sex worker, was tried under the patriot act as a terrorist for her work as an activist and was found guilty!

      And you wonder why sex workers do not speak up!???

      We are starting to come forward, and as this movement progresses, there will be more and more women and men in the industry speaking up and out! Since this has been what I call a ‘backdoor movement’ and most people are just waking up to what is happening (and on a worldwide scale) people are now getting mobilized more than ever.

      You will see more current sex workers speaking out. They are starting to finally ‘get it’, that their vocations, their bread and butter, their security is being threatened enough that they cannot afford not to speak up!

      When there is the very real threat of arrest, harassment and persecution and even the threat of being charged as a terrorist (please check this out for yourself as I do not expect you to believe me. After all it is just as crazy as it sounds) who wants to risk themselves!?

      I thought it was pretty amazing that this woman was tried as a terrorist for expressing her opinions and this is what the first amendment is supposed to guarantee all citizens. Perhaps not?

      1. No one should be abused, terrorized, persecuted or falsely arrested for speaking their mind. I also find it very sad that laws about prostitution always focus on women — women prostitutes and Madames, and all of the men involved go scott-free. It is absolutely a sexist system, one that needs to be overhauled.

        I will research Robin Few. I am glad you are here on Pols with me engaging in debate. I think it is very good to have these discussions.  

        1. I appreciate what you have to say as well Nancy, I really do. I have read through other posts you have added and you seem like a person who cares and wants to have a positive effect in the world (something I feel all people should be cognizant of).

          I believe if you had more accurate information in regard to trafficking (we all need this), as well as additional information about the rest of us, I am hopeful that you might actually take what we have to say into consideration.

          I can assure you that no matter what happens with this bill, I will be very proactive about making sure it is challenged, so perhaps our paths will cross.

          It is my hope that reasonable and rational people on all ‘sides’ will listen to each other and try to develop rational approaches to all these issues, and without shaming people- which is exactly what this bill is all about.

          It was even stated by proponents how most people would take the two year differed out of shame not wanting the public embarrassment. This is NOT cool at all. This IS shaming people!

          Drug court doesn’t even do this. Any decent therapist knows that people need support not shaming and the very basis for this bill is coming from moralizing, USING the subject of trafficking to push it through.

          Sad really, for the victims of trafficking who deserve REAL support and resources, not to have this flawed idea being passed around each state that exploits them even further!!!

            1. As a woman, I many not understand the motivations men have for visiting a prostitute (my guesses are: bad relationships, poor social skills, power, sex addictions, shyness, convenience, the thrill of doing something in secret — am I getting close?)… but I know that moralizing is pointless. Again, if this were not about children for me, I would butt out completely. What two consenting adults do in their own space is completely of no interest to me, whatsoever.

              I think if you knew Beth (and perhaps someday you will meet her) you will find she is also not someone who wants to moralize on sexuality issues. Beth has a heart of gold. She cares deeply about people, and uses all of her resources to help them. You should hear the child abuse cases she’s fought– and won. They would make your toes curl. There is probably no one I respect more than Beth Klein and Barack Obama. I mean that very sincerely.

              I hope our paths do cross. Please know I do not judge you for what you do, or who you represent as an organizer/activist. I wish there was a way to protect street kids while ensuring the rights of adult women and men whose sexuality is none of our business.

              As for the bill, why did you say it passed? Was it voted on today? Those who testified last week did not hear about it, if it was voted on by the House as a whole today. Any links?

              Best wishes FP. Thanks again for the dialogue.

                1. I had it wrong after reading something on the legislation website that said PASSED. I now see it was only referring to that committee.

                  We wait! Actually I am on my way down to the capitol right now for another round.

                  Beautiful building! Especially the ornamentation. In particular the pyramid with the all seeing eye surrounded by beams of light in the main hall facing the staircase.

                  SMILE

              1. It will take the involvement of sex workers themselves in the development of such a plan. As citizens who want to participate in such a process, as well as protect their way of life (which I doubt most ‘on the outside’ can imagine what that life is actually like) where in fact, in my part of the industry my vocation is connected to a long standing tradition and culture. One that has very outspoken safety protocols and standards in regard to only allowing what is consensual.

                I believe as we move into creating legislation that attempts to govern the private lives, the sexual lives of human beings, keep in mind that sexuality as a topic, needs more consideration and discussion. Stigmas ARE playing a huge role in this effort to establish these laws. The stigmas are being exploited to push this agenda in fact!

                I have numerous writings about my perspectives in regard to my experiences (in the industry) and philosophies and I am more than happy to share them if you are in the least bit interested. Feel free to IM me privately as I do not believe it is appropriate for me to add my website here. That would be a shameless promotion. Haha. And as much as I am against shaming and the promotion of shaming, I do like to try to adhere to politeness.

                SMILE

              2. It is high time that not only sex workers be heard, but those who are patrons. They are being stigmatized also!

                You mention reasons that are valid, but you are missing a HUGE amount of insight. This is understandable because we are talking subjects that have been kept hidden and in the dark and for a number of reasons. many involving FEAR of being labeled, judged, stigmatized, and persecuted.

                But reasons that men and women might seek out a sex worker’s services also involve being lonely, seeking a no strings attached situation, boredom, wanting to explore, being HUMAN, having a sex drive that is normal and not wanting to pick someone up at a bar, many know that sex workers have FEWER std’s on average, the wife does not have an interest in sex yet the man needs sex and does not want to have an affair that could lead to the other woman creating problems where hiring a professional is a no strings attached situation…..and I could go on and on.

                Having only the ‘dark’ elements to focus on maintains a perspective lacking balance. But how could you have this perspective?

                This is why people must start speaking out, speaking to one another, being real, and being honest. But if they cannot feel safe in doing so, this greatly limits the situation to only getting that perspective which is the negative stuff. That which ois paraded around to promote these agendas for one.

                Just like on the news at night. You hear mostly the bad news, not the good news. And this subject involves SEX. THAT subject,that naughty naughty subject which people have yet to engage in an evolved enlightened manner on the whole as a society.

                BTW…..

                I am VERY angry about how childhood is being ‘sexualized’ and for profit on the part of corporations!! This has a broad impact throughout our society.

                I mentioned Disney before, but Disney is hardly the only culprit. Most television programming, the clothing styles found in dept. stores, music, so many of these sources are saturated with highly ‘sexualized’ styles, symbols, messages, images, etc. for CHILDREN.

                I have young people in my life who I love and protect and I see it coming at them from all directions constantly and I must act as a continuous shield!! It is almost impossible to protect children from this sexualized assault! I am sure you can relate. I do not have a TV for instance and I threw all the Disney movies in the garbage after finding sexual components and over the top sexual subliminal messages had been confirmed. In one three minute scene of beauty and the beast, the word S E X is found over 20 some odd times!

                IT IS WRONG to sexualize children in any manner!

                Why aren’t people screaming about this?????

                How many people who support this bill for instance, in the name of protecting kids, have Disney films that they allow their children to watch? How many will scoff at what I am saying because they have grown up accepting this stuff, after all Disney is a family institution right? Most people are not aware (neither would they take it seriously most likely) that Disney has sexual subliminal messages in most if not all of their animated features. Disney has even admitted that they allow subliminal messages in their animated films!

                Of course they didn’t admit outright that the huge penis on the front of the cover of ‘the little mermaid’ was in fact a penis, but they altered the ‘object’ in question to not be so obviously a penis after receiving many many complaints. Obviously not enough because they continue to use sexual subliminal messages.

                How does THIS effect children? As well as our entire culture?

                I have more info on this that I would LOVE to share with anyone interested though there is a lot available on the Internet. You simply have to sort through the ‘goofy’ stuff. No pun intended whatsoever.

                We can’t even trust Disney with our kids!!!

                1. I don’t have issues with responsible sex between consenting adults, or in sex education, or healthy references to sex that are developmentally appropriate, so I cannot say I have huge problems with Disney.

                  I had problems with only two of their films. I would not buy Cindarella or Beauty and the Beast for my kids because of the anti-woman messages. Cindarella is obvious — a big strong (assumed smarter) man has to come save the weak girl “victim”. No thanks — not the message I want to give my kids. (Come to think of it, Snow White is pretty much the same storyline, right? Make that three.) Beauty and the Beast — smart woman puts up with barbaric, animalistic, cruel man who imprisons her, in hopes he will change. (Imagine if the woman was hideous and unkind? Would the guy stick around, hoping his love would change her? Fat chance.) Again, no thanks. Not the relationsip messages I want my kids to have.

                  I agree that sexualizing children with makeup, risque clothing, and I would add… child beauty pagents, is completely inappropriate, and SICK.

                  Guess we do agree on some things, FP.

  5. We can all make a video that says whatever we would like it to say. Regardless of facts.

    Here is a video you may want to check out about TRAFFICKING LIES:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    As well as this one WHICH PUTS A FACE ON OUR MOVEMENT:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/SW

    I have other videos listed you may be interested in as well on the SWOP COLORADO youtube channel. (sex workers outreach project Colorado)

    http://www.youtube.com/user/SW

    1. To add a video response. It failed to appear. Not sure why. Perhaps you could lend me a hand here. I have searched for a way and did not locate anything obvious. Seems I cannot make my own diary either even though I have tried to do so. haha.  

      1. I have enjoyed our conversation, and I appreciate your willingness to debate respectfully. I suspect others are lurking (they always are), so maybe we are all learning together.

        I understand now that some prostitutes are free agents and smart, independent women. That is something I did not know before. I admire their commitment to feminism and to civil rights, although their expression of it has been foreign to me until now.

        I hope you will acknowledge that there are also many women in the profession who are there because of dire situations in their lives — abuse from people in power, addictions to substances, extreme poverty, etc. Those people can be helped with social services that assist with poverty and job training (if only our state valued women enough to undo TABOR and spend money on such programs!).

        There is another group, though — teenage runaways, throwaways, and kids who can’t go home. What about them? I’ve met them. You’ve met them. The House Judiciary committee had a bunch of people show up to support SB 85 that told their own horror stories of abuse, manipulation and force. What about them? Why isn’t john school a great alternative? Why not educate johns?

        When animal poaching was a huge problem, we told people not to buy products from animal poachers. The practice stopped almost entirely (there is still some out there, but for the most part, the stigma against owning ivory tusks and gorilla parts is so strong, most people don’t want near it). Why not try to solve the problem by educating would-be consumers about the horrible lives of youth on the streets?  

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